Summerfest | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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4,347 Ratings

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Bohemian Pilsener

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
There's something about a warm summer day that calls out for a cold glass of great beer, and this classic Czech-style lager is sure to fit the bill. Crisp, golden and refreshing, Summerfest is the perfect choice for soaking up the sunshine. Summerfest is a Czech-style lager featuring a slight malt sweetness, a spicy hop flavor, and the crisp finish you want on a hot summer day.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-17-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,347 |  Reviews: 1,633
Photo of dwarbi
3.01/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Looks real nice. Thick, creamy, bubbley, white head. Settles to a moderate size. Provides very good lacing. The beer itself is colored a plain yellow. Smells a little spicy. Also a little chemical. Similar taste. Feels a bit unpleasant on the mouth, but not too bad. A little chewy. Not the worst beer. Very mediocre.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
1.3/5  rDev -64.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer was just brutal. I bought a six pack and tried three days in a row to "give it another chance". Nothing doing. A yellow colur, I could taste a bit of hops. But it is just harsh, and I mean harsh. Every sip is a challange. It grinds down your throat. This is not a summer beer. I don't know what it is.

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Photo of BrianOfMayberry
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

nice hop characteristic for a lager... head dissappears pretty quickly when poured from the bottle, but that can be forgiven. some "herbal" / grassy notes in the flavor profile. Drinkable and just the right level of alcohol. Actually it's a good Spring beer if you live in California. But it should hit the spot when the weather gets hotter, too.

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Photo of Hobbz
2.9/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Well, not sure about this one; not what I would produce as a summer beer myself, but then again I am not in charge here. I will have to sample this one again at a later date to reconfirm how it tasted to me on this one, as it fell on me taste quite harshly. Draft beer poured golden-light with puddles of thin foam, esp. around the edges of the glass. Somewhat fragrant smell of hops. Taste was quite tart and hoppy, but I would have liked this one better with balancing malt profile. I never had this beer before but am familiar with their pale ale and use of hops, so I was rather expecting a fair amount, but overall the taste did not hit me right (this time). My non-affection for this one surprised me: I love their other beers I have tried.

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Photo of mickeymac
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's about 90 degrees today, so I decided to test the Summerfest. It pours a clear yellow with a nice foamy white head that's very inviting. The smell is surprisingly nice for a summer lager: floral hops and a very nice hop smell that has undercurrents of bread/biscuit. The malt smell is more than backed up by the flavor and the hops lend a slight bite while contributing a nice tropical flower taste. Drinkability? I'm still trying to figure out where it went.

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Photo of cokes
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Archetypal pils looks. Gleaming gold with a bountiful white froth.
Lemon and herbal aromatics above a bready malt.
Begins with a dry-ish pils malt base. Saltine crackers fading into crusty sourdough bread. Lemon pepper hops enter and take control. Simple and effective.
Lacking some of the snap I want. Though it is refreshingly light bodied and drinkable by the gallon.
While not a juggernaut of pils flavor, it is enjoyable and worthwhile.

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Photo of Dmann
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a great warm weather brew from Sierra Nevada. If you are kicking back on a hot summer day, this is definantly a great choice. It poured a clear golden color with a nice white head that lasted awhile, leaving a decent lace down till the end. The malty characteristics really stood out in the smell, with some grassy and hoppy smells as well. The taste was a great summer balance between malt and hops, with the malt being the dominant flavor. As the beer warms a bit, the hops come through a bit more, and it tasted more balanced. All in all a great summer brew.

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Photo of maxpower
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden color with a big white foamy head that lasts for awhile, earthy and flowery aromas, light malt with a heavy dose of hops in the flavor, light bodied with a crisp carbonated mouthfeel, a great light summer beer, easy to knock back a few in the sun.

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Photo of elmocoso
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Tis a pretty good lager
Gold like straw
or karat jewelry
with decent blanket
of translucent head
and lacing plus
dancing carbonation.

Smells crisp
and good for summer
like cereal and malt
a fair amount of hops
floral and citrus like
evening summer air

Taste is crisp and
cracks like whip
in clean beauty
and rounded with
love bite on tongue

Pass Rolling Rock
for this Sierra

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Photo of dmarch
3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was a dissappointment since sierra nevada is such a respected brewery for me. I appreciate them trying to make a lager, but this just doesn't live up to their ales. It pours clear golden with no head at all. The hop character is the one redeeming quality. It's slightly spicy with a citrusy aroma and taste similar to their pale ale. It's nice and light for a apertif though. It left me craving something bigger. Luckily I have a bigfoot ready to drink.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden brew with a beautifully thick and well retaining head. That seems to be a rarity for a lager. Mild sweet fruit in the nose, with traces of grain, husk, and a mild malt aroma.

Not the most complex of beers, but I don't think that is what Sierra Nevada is aiming for here. It's a thirst quencher on a hot day, and it fits that role well. The malt character of the beer is pretty high, and thus the full malty finish is its defining characteristic. Mild citrus flavors are also detectable. Mouthfeel is carbonated and bubbly, but does not detract from the drinkability. Worth a try, and I can see myself drinking more of this when the weather gets hot.

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Photo of doho95fu
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is one of those products that your favorite brewer puts out that you just wish they hadn't. SN has some of my favorite brews and is the beer I buy most consistently, but this lager should be left out of the lineup. It is pale and somewhat carbonated and has little to offer in the smell department other than hops and some sweet smells. The taste is hoppy but there are malt hints as well. Not nearly as hoppy as I have come to expect from SN, maybe due to the style. It is drinkable. Its not that it is a bad beer, just that I have come expect alot from the brewery.

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Photo of Morris729
4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours golden amber in color with a massive rocky white head that leaves thick sheets of lace on the sides of the glass as it slowly dissipates. Nose is dominated by floral hops and perfume with some additional grassy herbal notes. Light to medium in body with a moderate amount of active carbonation. Taste is lightly spicy hops and bitter grain husks up front followed by just a touch of sweet malts and then some lemony notes and citrusy hops. A very refreshing beer and one of the best summer brews on the market.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden color with a white head.
Faint aroma of pale malts and hops.

Crisp and very clean. Pale, grainy malts with a nice hop balance. Slight citrus flavor. Light and thirst quenching.

Good mouthfeel.
Very drinkable.

Overall a good beer. Summerfest is quite fitting as this would make a great lawnmower beer.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Summerfest 2002:
This one pours a clear golden that is pleasant and has a short yet thick head. The nose is sweet malt with a refreshing scent that is highlighted by almost minty hops. The flavor is a rich and malty body with a crisp hoppy finish that is enlivening. The aftertaste is nearly non-existent and pleasant hops. Overall a very satisfying beer that is very drinkable

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Photo of johnrobe
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew has long been my lawnmower beer of choice; just perfect for slaking your thirst on a hot summer day. It pours a solid 14k gold with a voluminous frothy white head. The aroma is of lightly kilned malt, herbal/grassy hops and just a hint of lemon. This brew is nicely balanced. I taste light malt which has, if only for an instant, a vanilla-like sweetness. Herbal hops and some cereal-tasting grain are also present as well as just a slight citrusy twist on the finish. Not overly complex, but it shouldn't be. Recommend this one to your macro-swilling friends. You just might convert them.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a very refreshing lager beer from Sierra Nevada. This beer poured a dark golden colour with a nice head. The aromas were of hops, and malts...the aromas were very basic. This tasted of hops and malts in good balance...the perfect summer beer. The mouthfeel was crisp and full and the drinkability was great as well. A great session beer from SN.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought in the 12 oz bottle with the pic of the Sierra nevadas on the label this is the first 2003 version I have seen to date.
The beer pours a very nice dark golden colour..with a good sized pure white foamy head..which seems to last quite a while.
mmm nice fresh aroma on this beer..nice slight hoppy floral smell..i smell some lenon grass too.
This is an excellent tasting lager..very fresh ( as would be expected this early) at first there is a nice crisp malt sweetness..followed soon after by the bite of the hops very well balanced..sense some wheaty tastes and lemon too..very nice.
Feels very good on the tongue there is a crispness but its not dry.
A most drinkable summer beer..will have more than once this coming summer.

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Photo of kbub6f
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 release, bought locally (Grapevine refrigerated shelves), 2-3 weeks in my fridge, served cold.

The beer pours with a coarse white head that collapses moderately quickly to leave a frothy, soapy, pleasant-looking lacing. The color is warm golden. Champagne-like bubbles.

The smell is pilsnery with a little bit o' funk. Definite hops in the nose, but kind of sweet smelling too. Starts caramely, with a fruity middle, finishes hoppy bitter! Appropriately tingley on the tongue. Nice. Fresh.

I'll go have some pizza now...

Ok, it's warmed up a little... hops are sitting down more, malt comes through a little better (less metallic caramel, more body). Taste is still just a little soapy. Overall, this is quite good: a nice appetizer beer.

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Photo of Gusler
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a crystal clear bright gold color, the head pertinent in size, frothy texture that leaves lots of lace to coat the glass. Fruit sweet aromas, over lying the malt, citrus crisp and fresh, quite sniffable with sweet malt front. Top is middling in mouth feel, the finish bitingly acidic, meaningful hop spicy bite, the aftertaste dry.

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Photo of BeerManDan
2.3/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

After pouring this beer and seeing the medium yellow color. I tried to pick up the aroma, but could'nt find any. Don't know if this was a bad bottle, but, this was a no nothing beer. Maybe a slight citrus feel in the mouth, but that was it! Save this brew for a junkyard dog! Not for me!

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Photo of bditty187
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The milky-grassiness of the aroma yields a creamy blend of floral hops, barely malt, and citrus. The beer was a bright, clear, golden yellow with a white head of about a finger or so. Minimal lace. Tasty, your mouth fills with flavor. A very good brew but I just wonder why this is seasonal? I think it would hold-up well anytime of the year.

I was pleased to see that Sierra Nevada didn’t go crazy with the hops.

I’ll be looking forward to drinking more of this next summer.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.39/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear (filtered) golden body topped by a big, creamy, bright-white head that holds well and leaves some limited lace. Nice aroma of malt and hops with some fruitiness and a bright lemony note that I assume comes from citrusy hops. The body is medium-light with a very fine & slightly effervescent carbonation, making it very silky in the mouth. The flavor is lightly hoppy and citrusy up-front, warming into a lightly sweet maltiness as it crosses the palate, and drying out just before the swallow with some more light hop flavor and bitterness. All of these flavors are carried over, to some extent, into the aftertaste. A really refreshing and interesting change of pace that really does make a great summer beer. Not complicated, but with alot of finesse. Somewhat lighter in flavor and easy to drink, but with some distinct hop character and bitterness. Very nice, fairly unique, and well brewed.

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Photo of hyuga
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2002 release. Golden with a big white head that leaves a patchy lace, but doesn't stay for long. Subtle aromas in the nose, some hop aroma that's a bit plant-like and citrus-like. Hop bitterness plays a big role in the flavor, with grain right behind it. Once again, a bit plant-like with citrus. Smoothness in the mouthfeel is interrupted by the hops. I didn't find this as refreshingly satisfying as this type of lager should be. Hops take over where they shouldn't. Not too bad, but there are many in this style that I'd put above this one.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy medium gold color with a stunningly thick off-white head that lasts. Lots of thick, sticky lace with modest carbonation. Aroma consists of grassy notes and grain. Pronounced hops assert themselves from the beginning of the taste, towards the middle, mildly sweet malts dominate, finishes with bitter citrus notes. As others have noted, this beer improves as it warms up a bit from typical refrigerator temperature. Remarkably refreshing, a quintessential summer beer that beats its competitors hands down.

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Summerfest from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 4,347 ratings